Published: Sat, March 02, 2019
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

Indian, Pakistani Troops Exchanging 'Heavy Fire' Along Line of Control

Indian, Pakistani Troops Exchanging 'Heavy Fire' Along Line of Control

Officials brought the pilot, identified as Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, to the border crossing with India at Wagah and handed him back.

In an attempt to de-escalate the rising tension between India and Pakistan, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan told the Pakistan National Assembly on Thursday that Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who is now in the custody of Pakistani Army officials, will return to India on Friday.

Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman is expected to enter India on 1 March.

The Pakistani military has said his plane was downed on the Pakistani-held side of Kashmir on Wednesday.

February 24: Five people - three rebels, a counterinsurgency police officer and an army soldier - are killed in a gun battle between members of a Pakistani militant group and Indian security forces. It wasn't clear when he recorded this statement, but it was clearly while he was in the custody of the Pakistan military.

"The announcement of the release [of the Indian pilot] is indeed a good gesture but will not satisfy India, which wants Pakistan to dismantle terror infrastructure", Khoda told BenarNews.

He was among the fighter pilots scrambled to repel a Pakistani incursion over the border the next day.

World powers have called on the nations to de-escalate the tensions gripping the contested region since a February 14 suicide vehicle bombing killed over 40 Indian paramilitary personnel.

Maj Gen Ghafoor said that Pakistan fighter jets had carried out "strikes" - exactly what they did remains unclear - in Indian-administered Kashmir on Wednesday.

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The announcement came just a few hours after U.S. President Donald Trump indicated to reporters in Hanoi that the United States was playing a role to help lower tensions between the South Asian nuclear armed rivals.

Video showing the pilot - blindfolded and with blood on his face - was shared by Pakistan's information ministry.

India has accused Pakistan of having a "direct hand" in the attack and providing sanctuary to the militants.

Imran Khan also stated that on Wednesday evening he "tried to call Indian PM Narendra Modi on the phone because escalation is not in our interests nor in India's".

Pakistan will handover the captured Indian pilot on Friday afternoon, its foreign minister told parliament.

According to a CAA spokesperson, flight operation to and from Islamabad, Quetta, Peshawar and Karachi will resume under restricted airspace. The closures snarled air traffic.

Meanwhile, Mr Qureshi said he would not attend the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation foreign ministers' meeting starting in Abu Dhabi on Friday because his Indian counterpart had been invited to the event.

The strikes are the first launched across the line of control - the de facto border that divides India-administered Kashmir from Pakistan-administered Kashmir - since a war between the two countries in 1971.

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